NVIDIA’s NV48 to be Made at TSMC, Says Article

@ 2004/12/21
NVIDIA’s graphics processor code-named NV48 may still be in plans, contrary to earlier reports about its cancellation, says an article at DigiTimes web-site. The chip would be made at TSMC, according to the report, not at IBM, as it was initially reported.

The graphics processor that is believed to be internally called NV48 will be made in mass quantities in the second quarter of 2005 at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company. The chip will use relatively low-cost 0.11 micron fabrication process, not IBM’s 0.13 micron manufacturing technology, according to the article.

NVIDIA’s NV48 chip was originally supposed to be a “refresh” for the company’s GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics processor that was expected to feature a bit higher frequencies compared to the original parts. Earlier this month rumours about cancellation of NV48 and NV50 products emerged, however, NVIDIA Corp. did not deny the information. NVIDIA reportedly also preps to unveil the company’s code-named NV47 visual processing unit that presumably contains 24 pixel pipelines in future.

TSMC’s 0.11 micron process technology is similar to the company’s 0.13 micron technology and is mainly intended to cut down manufacturing costs, rather than to allow higher clock-speeds. In case NVIDIA has enough allocation for 0.11 micron nodes at TSMC, the company may enjoy higher gross-margins on the NV48 products compared to what it might get if the NV48 was made at IBM.

ATI Technologies, NVIDIA’s main rival, recently introduced RADEON X800 XL and RADEON X800 chips made using 0.11 micron targeting performance-mainstream market.

NVIDIA Corp.’s representatives did not comment on the news-story.

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